Czech universities hang out Tibetan flag during Dalai Lama visit

The activity is a reaction to statement made by Czech officials regarding the policy towards China.

At five minutes to noon (in Czech, this is a symbol for the last minute), Masaryk University hung out a Tibetan flag. In the picture there is the Rector of Masaryk University, Mikuláš Bek.

At the instigation of the MU Rector, several Czech universities have today hung out a Tibetan flag, the Czech Television (CT, the public service broadcaster in the Czech Republic) said. The activity is a reaction to Tuesday’s statement by Czech constitutional officials regarding the policy of the Czech Republic towards the People’s Republic of China in connection with the visit of the Dalai Lama. Among others, universities involved in the initiative include Charles University in Prague, the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, the University of Pardubice, the University of Ostrava and the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague.

Tibetan flag flies over Masaryk University
Earlier today the Rector of Masaryk University, Mikuláš Bek, expressed concern about the statement made by Czech constitutional officials in connection with the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Czech Republic and his presence at the Forum 2000 conference. At five minutes to noon (in Czech, this is a symbol for the last minute), Masaryk University hung out a Tibetan flag. The flag is flying in front of the MU Rector’s Office building and also the MU Faculty of Social Studies. Most Czech universities have supported the action.

“A lot of people in academia have been taken aback by the tone of the statement made by Czech officials. I think such a statement goes beyond standard diplomatic protocol and takes us significantly closer to the way the government of the Protectorate might have communicated with Berlin or the Normalisation administration talked with Moscow.  In my opinion, this is not a tone used commonly in communication between a sovereign state and another foreign power,” said Mikuláš Bek.

One of the main aims of the university is to actively encourage public debate and support critical thinking in its students, so contributing to a consensus on where borders lie which the Czech state should respect, the MU Rector added. The flag will fly in front of the MU Rector’s Office until Friday.